|Emery High students travel throughout the county performing for local schools.|
Social dance has been a part of the curriculum at Emery High for as long as Darrell Gardner has been a teacher at the school since 1982-83. He along with fellow teacher Donn Jeffs saw a need at the school for some dance training. They felt it would add to the performance at the Junior Prom and other functions.
"I attended the College of Eastern Utah on an athletic scholarship, I was forced to take a dance class; a teacher told me it was part of the requirement to graduate. I later learned they were pulling my leg. I loved the class. I later became involved with dancing at Utah State and started teaching social dance as an undergraduate.
"The students here at Emery High learn social interaction and how to respect each other. I've seen great improvement in social skills. They develop rhythm, coordination, self confidence and it is a lifetime activity that they can continue to enjoy later on in life.
"I have had several students come back and thank me for teaching them to dance. They have moved on to other places now and they have a lot of opportunities to use their dancing skills and a lot of girls asking them for dates.
"The students learn traditional ballroom, country line dancing and others. We also go to Brigham Young University to compete. The kids enjoy it and we get to see a lot of dancers, but we usually get our butts kicked. They take it very seriously up there and most of them have been dancing forever.
"We also visit the junior high's each year and dance for those students. This encourages those students to take the class when they get to the high school and the high school students enjoy performing for the junior high students.
"The students enjoy the class and it's a good experience for them. It gives them a chance to succeed. We have two classes each day and it is a semester class that is open to juniors and seniors. The kids enjoy the interaction, it's fun and they learn some dance steps along the way," said Gardner.